Architecture as an academic discipline and a profession is not particularly interested in the postsecular thought. It is interested in religious building and spaces, but not in postsecularism as a theoretical perspective. Postsecular Architecture Research Network (PARN) aims to discuss postsecularity as a new intellectual framework to theorise the built environment.
Postsecularity itself is a broad and diverse field of thinking. PARN aims to engage with those strands of postsecular thought which address the fundamental problem of human existence – the confrontation with the unknown. The initial theoretical inspirations of PARN are coming from work of Rudolf Otto’s, Mircea Eliade and Jacob Taubes’ seminal works (and their contemporary critics) and contemporary continental (European) thinkers such as Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, Gianni Vattimo, Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito and Terry Eagleton.
There are two main issues where architectural and postsecular thinking meet; one is a (spatial) context, defined as ‘out there’. The context is a mechanism opening any dialectical relationship by the looming presence of ‘The Absolute Other’. The other issue where these two disciplines meet is a problem of hierarchies and dependencies. Space is fundamentally relational. Therefore hierarchies are embedded in the way how space is constructed and perceived. Hierarchies are also of crucial importance in a postsecular discourse.
PARN aims to develop a conceptual link between architecture and religious studies as academic disciplines. These two areas of study rarely meet, and the ambition of PARN is to demonstrate the benefits of this cross-fertilisation.